Editorials

Mississippi River bridge north of St. Louis is well past its prime

IDOT displays plans for Chain of Rocks Bridge replacement during meeting

During a public meeting January in Granite City, IDOT displayed maps of the five locations considered for a replacement of the current Interstate 270 bridge.
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During a public meeting January in Granite City, IDOT displayed maps of the five locations considered for a replacement of the current Interstate 270 bridge.

How safe is a bridge that requires a sheriff’s deputy to park at the end and jog a mile to a car crash?

How smart is it to expect much of a future for a bridge designed 52 years ago without shoulders. How reliable is a bridge that once handled 19,800 vehicles a day but now handles 51,000 — 2 1/2 times as much.

There is a clear need to replace the Interstate 270 bridge across the Mississippi River near the Chain of Rocks. There is no clear path to the $225 million needed to build it.

The Illinois Department of Transportation intends to replace the bridge and has money for both the design and the land acquisition. Construction funding is not in place.

U.S. Rep. Mike Bost and U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis both sit on the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure’s subcommittee on highways and transit. The bridge is in Bost’s district, but having both of them in the right position should help.

Bost’s office said it is too early to discuss specifics of federal involvement, but one of his staffers was at the recent IDOT open house in Granite City. Bost is keeping a close watch on the issue.

The bridge replacement plans are still fluid, so if you care about the priority of replacing the bridge, about bike lanes, about six rather than four lanes or about other issues, you can comment by contacting IDOT’s Karen Geldert at 618-346-3157 or at Karen.Geldert@illinois.gov.

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